Archive for May, 2012

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View Venus in Transit at Widener Observatory

May 31, 2012

The Widener University Observatory invites the public to attend a free open house on Tuesday, June 5 from 6:15 – 8:15 p.m. to view the planet Venus as it passes across the face of the sun.

The transit of Venus – when the planet passes directly between the earth and the sun – is a rare event that will not occur again for another 115 years.

For more information, read the Widener press release and the article “Crossing the Sun: The Last Transit of Venus until 2117″ on the Scientific American web site.

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Two Widener English Professors Who Rock

May 29, 2012

Milton and the Devils Party: Top, Daniel Robinson; right, Mark Graybill; and left, Bob Falgie.

By Erin Sylvester ’13

Students usually don’t imagine their professors writing and performing rock songs outside of the classroom. This is, however, how Widener English professors Dr. Daniel Robinson and Dr. Mark Graybill spend their free time. Robinson—the editor of the CEA Critic who teaches mostly 18th- and 19th-century British literature, specializing in poetry of the Romantic-era—moonlights as a singer, songwriter, and bassist. Graybill—the new associate dean of Arts and Sciences who teaches modern, contemporary, and postmodern American fiction—moonlights as a guitarist.

Robinson and Graybill met while they were in graduate school and decided to form a band when they ended up teaching together at Widener. They created the local indie rock band Milton and the Devils Party back in 2001 and have been rocking out with success ever since. Bob Falgie, their current drummer, has been with them since 2006.

The band’s name has received quite a bit of attention, and Robinson has cited its origin as the passage in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell by William Blake when he calls John Milton, the author of Paradise Lost, “a true Poet and of the Devil’s party without knowing it.” Robinson told Metro Philadelphia, “It’s kind of a joke. I thought it would be a funny name for a rock band because there’s that whole silly tradition of rock Satanism.”

Milton and the Devils Party’s music reminds some of R.E.M and The Smiths, and Robinson has been likened to Elvis Costello. He admits the influence of Morrissey, Nick Cave, Lloyd Cole, and Ray Davies on his songwriting. The band has put out three albums thus far: What Is All This Sweet Work Worth?, What Is All This Sweet Work Worth? (Expanded and Revised), and How Wicked We’ve Become. Their fourth album, You Must Contribute, Brain!, is expected to come out later this year.

To hear a sampling of music from Milton and the Devils Party, check out the band’s website. If you’re over 21, come hear their music live on Thursday, June 7 with 4th Line Revolutionary at the M-Room in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8 at the door.

Erin Sylvester is a senior from Brunswick, Maine, majoring in English.

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Widener Librarians Honored for Raymond Papers

May 22, 2012

By Erin Sylvester ’13

Fifty-four years ago, a “mysterious fire…extensively damaged” the new home of George T. Raymond and his family in the all-white community of Rutledge, Pa., just east of Swarthmore. Raymond, a black man from Chester who served as president of the local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for more than 25 years, was progressive in his views and actions. He played a major role in the civil rights movement. “Largely through his efforts, Chester was transformed from a totally segregated city to a city where blacks could expect fair treatment in employment, housing, and education,” wrote John McLarnon of Millersville University.

Raymond’s papers are now available online because of the work of Jan Alexander and Jill Borin, reference librarians and archivists at Widener’s Wolfgram Memorial Library. The two were recently honored for compiling and digitizing the contents of three scrapbooks that the Raymond family donated to the university in 2009, separating them into five exhibits now known as the George Raymond Papers. Raymond created two of the scrapbooks in which he recorded the events of the civil rights movement through newspaper clippings, photographs, and other materials from the 1940’s through 1960’s. Another NAACP member created the third scrapbook, which reports the events of 1963-64. Alexander and Borin received the George T. Raymond Freedom Award at the 101st Annual NAACP Chester Branch Awards Dinner on April 27, 2012.

Alexander learned in the archival process that her father, Earle Edwards, knew the Raymonds personally. He helped make the purchase of the home possible while working for Friends Suburban Housing, a non-discriminatory real estate agency in Swarthmore, and was invited to the house blessing after it was renovated. Alexander said she was “deeply honored” by the award and that the papers are a “valuable historical resource.” Borin said, “When we received these papers, I realized what a treasure trove of history they contained.”

This photograph was taken two years after the fire at the house blessing of   the renovated Raymond home. George Raymond is pictured third from the left; Earle Edwards is second from the right.

To learn more, read the press release or local news coverage.

Erin Sylvester is a senior from Brunswick, Maine, majoring in English.

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Commencement is Over, But Messages Resonate

May 17, 2012

Widener University’s Commencement ceremonies saw almost 900 graduates cross the stage and pick up their diplomas on Saturday.  Messages by the top two outgoing students, Valedictorian Michael Forese of Downingtown, Pa., and Salutatorian Jacqueline Beers of Upper Darby, Pa., are posted online.

“The education and knowledge we received at Widener is now the foundation we can use to accomplish all of our goals and dreams,” Forese said. “Now is the time to go out and achieve our potential, not be complacent with the successes we have just achieved.”

You can read the rest of Forese’s speech, as well as Beers’s remarks, online.  You also can peruse a vast photo album with many photographs from the big day.

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A Big Widener Congratulations, Mom!

May 12, 2012

Ten-month-old William D’Eletto enjoyed the perfect weather Saturday from a front-row seat at Widener’s Commencement ceremony. William, pictured here in the lap of his aunt, Kathy Hassel, a 2007 Widener nursing graduate, is the daughter of Master of Education graduate Kelly D’Eletto, a fourth grade teacher at the Widener Partnership Charter School.  William is the grandson and Kelly and Kathy are the daughters of George Hassel, Widener’s associate vice president for administration.

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Commencement Time at Widener University

May 9, 2012

Folding chairs on Memorial Field mean only one thing — commencement is here.

The first official event is the ROTC Commissioning at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, May 10, at the Veterans Memorial in front of Old Main. The final event is the main commencement ceremony beginning at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, May 12. For the complete schedule, as well as detailed information about all aspects of commencement, please see the comprehensive commencement web pages.

The ROTC Commissioning, Nightingale Ceremony, Academic Awards, and Commencement will be broadcast live online. The webcast will begin streaming at least five minutes before the event begins.

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Football Legends Enter MAC Hall of Fame

May 2, 2012

Coach Bill Manlove and Billy “White Shoes” Johnson — legendary figures in Widener football history — are among those inducted as part of the inaugural class in the Middle Atlantic Conference Hall of Fame.  Manlove was inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame last year, and Johnson was inducted in 1996.  For more information, read the press release.